We really do become like the people we spend time with. So it’s important to consider: Are there any Debbie Downers in your life? (It’s so common people have coined phrases like Debbie Downer or Negative Nellie to describe them.) They’re people who, no matter what, see the negative in every situation.
They can be hard to avoid, especially if they’re an important part of your life. Perhaps you have a childhood friend you love a lot, but you just can’t understand why she is so negative? I’ve been sharing a series of blogs on how to be more positive, however the reality is staying positive is a challenge when dealing with people who are downers.
Of course, no one can be up all the time. Even if you know how to stay positive, there will be times that you’ll feel down. The attitude of the people around you rubs off on you. This is good if you surround yourself with positive people who want you to be happy. However, if the people in your life are consistently negative, for your own health and wellbeing, you’ll want to find ways to deal with this in a constructive manner.
How to stay positive when dealing with negative people
While the first reaction may be to distance yourself from negative people and that is one option, that’s not always feasible when you work with them or you’re closely related to the negative person. So, here are four other options to try:
Daily feed your positive energy.
When you make a daily practice of intentionally filling your mind with positive thoughts, you’ll build up the strength to resist negativity. You can do this by: reading or listening to inspirational sources (I love listening to Tony Robbins on YouTube); spending time with people who lift you up; looking for the good in every situation; and daily reflecting on what you’re grateful for.
See the difference between the behavior and the person.
You can love someone, but not love what they do. Or visa versa you can hate what they do, but not hate the person. Remembering this distinction will help you put their attitude into a different perspective. Consider the source and let the negativity roll off of you like water rolls off of a duck’s back.
Acknowledge and empathize, but you don’t have to agree.
The only way some people seem to know how to connect with others is to dramatize how much they endure or suffer. This can be a real downer if you start taking on their issues in the process. It’s okay to show empathy and listen to them. Just remember that you don’t have to agree with what they’re saying. If appropriate, you might even ask them, “Why do you like to look at life through such a negative point of view?” They’ll probably be shocked that you think they’re negative, because they can’t see it in themselves. Which brings us to the last point…
Become a positive influence
Your outlook can be just as contagious as theirs. Think about what you can do to influence them toward a more positive outlook. If nothing else, this will remind you to remain positive.
Showing others how to live life from the most positive perspective is what great leaders do. If you’d like to expand your leadership abilities please feel free to contact me to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” complimentary consultation with me so we can explore a coaching partnership.